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Four Ways To Be More Confident And Get What You Want

Four Ways To Be More Confident And Get What You Want

People have often told me that I seem to always get what I want. I quip back that it’s because I usually want what I get; but there is more to it than that. The more I sharpen my skills at achieving goals and the more I learn how to be more confident, the more prepared I am to get what I want. Read on for some tips to help you get better at getting what you want and feeling confident along the way.

Know what you want, not what you don’t want.

If you decide to go on a vacation but you pull out a map and say, “I don’t want to go to Delaware, I don’t want to go to Wyoming, I don’t want to go to Idaho…” and so on, you will never get anywhere. To make the vacation happen you need to choose where you will go, who you want to go with, how you will get there and other criteria. Research shows that a person is more likely to achieve a goal that is stated in the positive over a goal that is negatively stated.

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Know yourself.

There are three key questions that you should ask yourself when you are trying to get what you want and feel confident about it. The first question would be, “Is what I want under my control?” What is your sphere of influence with regard to your goal? In couples counseling, I heard one spouse tell me that they wanted their significant other to be more happy. My response was, “You can’t have that.” Sure we all want our loved ones to be happy but we really have no control over their insides. So I asked the person, “What would it do for you if your spouse was more happy?” And the answer surprised them; “I would be more happy.” “Now that is a goal that is within your control,” I replied. Make sure what you want is under your control and that you do not have to rely on anyone else to get it.

The second question is, “How will I know when I achieve this goal?” Make sure this answer is not a fluff answer but one solidly recognizable to your eyes, ears, nose and touch. I once asked a friend who was going through a crisis, “What do you want to have happen through all of this?” They told me, “I want to come out of this a better person.” While it was a worthy goal, it was severely undefined. Better how? Better in what contexts? When could better actually be worse? As I asked these questions and others that put skin on the outcome, he was almost able to taste the final product. As a result, he felt more confident about attaining it.

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The third question has to do with ecology. Not the “go green for the planet kind” but a concern for how having this outcome will impact you and those around you. I heard a story about a life coach who was approached by a client just before his skiing trip to Colorado. Her client wanted to learn ways to be more confident as he was skiing. Being “helpful” she pulled out some of the best tricks in her bag so that he would feel confident as he flew down those slick, crisp, white slopes. The problem is, he came back with a broken collar bone and a cracked ankle. He was a novice skier taking on a slope that was beyond his skill level. Unfortunately, he and his life coach did not go over crucial ecology questions that would have revealed that the client first needed to gain competency before he got to feel confidence. Look at the downsides to your outcome and address those before you proceed.

Plan the steps and calculate what they will cost you.

You have heard the cliches no doubt: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Eat an elephant one bite at a time, etc. The truth is, anything is possible when broken down into small enough steps. When you conceptualize the steps to achieving your goal and you think about the resources you will need to get there, you put yourself in a position to take risks that actually make sense. Not only that, you have reduced the fear of the unknown to a controllable volume that will make it a resource for you. Yes, fear is a resource. It causes us to pause and re-think our strategies, our commitment, and our resources. When you deal with the fear, you come out more prepared and confident.

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Stay flexible and settle for more than what you wanted.

Flexibility is the key to getting what you want and feeling confident about it. If you have something that you really do want, you know you have the influence to get it, you will recognize it once you have achieved it, it won’t get you into trouble having it, and you have the resources to get it, then you have a green light to throw everything into this goal with one caution–do not get attached to how you achieve it. You may think the final outcome will look exactly like you first imagined it and you will have achieved it exactly according to plan. Not always so. Sometimes the universe has it’s own influence in your plan and you have to adjust the course.

If you run into obstacles, use them as an opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate: Is this outcome worth having? Can I still control it? Do I have enough resources or do I need to go outside of myself for help? Is the goal shaping up differently and is the end product still what I want but in a different form? Am I now aware of consequences to having this goal that I was not aware of before? What will having this outcome do for me? If after these questions you still have a green light, it is worthwhile to push forward through the obstacle with confidence and tenacity. If you cannot answer all of them to your satisfaction it may be a sign to start all over with a new outcome at a different level.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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